The last minute submission, a heavy cruiser from my NS nation. She plays a major role in one of the most important parts of the region's history.
Ordered as the last ships of the Via Victis Act Naval Authorization, the Plaistow
class represent the ultimate treaty cruiser design of the Miklanian Navy. They followed the successful Northwynne
class. The layout was derived from a 1936 preliminary design for a heavy cruiser that came as close as possible to the 10,000 long ton standard displacement limit imposed by the Nolon City Naval Arms Limitations Treaty. Previous classes had been designed to 8,500 long tons to provide sufficient margin for weight overruns and still remain well within the treaty requirements. But by the mid 1930’s it was apparent that most treaty signatories were ignoring the treaty requirements and building cruisers thousands of tons overweight. The development of fast and heavily armored Keomoran cruisers were of particular concern. A class designed to 10,000 tons was authorized in an attempt to counter these ships. Weight overruns in excess of 1,000 tons were not tolerated by the authorization. While the Navy had no qualms building even larger ships, the Diplomatic Service still held hope for future naval treaties and wanted the advantage of the moral high ground in future negotiations.
The primary armament remained nine 8”/55 guns in three turrets. The class utilized a new Mk.10 turret design that allowed for independent elevation of the guns. An increase in turret and barbette size was offset by the reduction of the size of the secondary battery. The secondary armament was reduced from eight 5”/40 dual-purpose guns and four 3”/50 DP guns as on previous heavy cruiser designs to six 5”/40 DP guns. The only major upgrade to the secondary armament was the use of fully enclosed and powered mounts. Two Mk. 32 directors were provided for the primary and two Mk. 36 for the secondary battery. The secondary directors were fully capable of managing the primary guns for redundancy.
As built the anti-aircraft armament consisted of the six dual purpose 5” guns, twelve 40mm Bofors guns in six twin mounts (the first application of Bofors guns on an RMN vessel), and ten single water-cooled .50 caliber machine guns. The anti-aircraft armament would change repeatedly throughout the service life of the ships.
The increase in protection compared to older cruiser classes was significant. Previous heavy cruisers had a maximum of 5” of belt armor, while Plaistow
boasted 6” at the water line. An all-or-nothing armor scheme was adopted to provide maximum protection for the given weight margin. The weather deck had 1” of armor, with a main armor deck of 2 ¼” extending from seven frames forward of A turret to the stern. ¾” splinter decks were provided all the way down to the bilge. The turret faces had 6” of Class A armor, with 4” Class B for the sides and rear. The turret roof was 2” of Class B. The barbettes were 7” Class A all around. The citadel was enclosed by 4” of armor. The conning tower walls were 6” with a 2 ¼” roof. Torpedo protection was provided by two watertight bottoms with two internal torpedo bulkheads between them on the sides, the outer being liquid loaded and the inner void. Torpedo bulges were considered but not installed due to the detrimental effects on displacement and speed.
was laid down in 1937 and launched in 1938. She weighed 10,420 long tons at standard loading. Rye
followed in 1939 and Hampton
in 1940. Rye
was deployed north to Second Fleet in Alta, Polar Svalbard. Plaistow
remained at home in First Fleet. In 1940 the Nolon City Treaty was officially voided with the launch of the Keomoran B41 class battleship. Construction of Plaistow
class Cruisers was cancelled, and work began on detailed design of a derived but larger 17,000 ton contingency class. This became the Debrecen
class heavy cruiser. When the Imperial War began in March 1941 with the Keomoran invasions of central Argus, the Debrecen
class was not yet in service. For the first four months of the war, the three Plaistows
were the most advanced cruisers in the fleet. In the initial wave of declarations of war, Cruiser Squadron 14, with both Plaistow
, was the closest to Athara Magarat, which made it’s declaration of war against the Free Powers mere minutes before their first shots were fired. A formation of thirty land based torpedo bombers attacked the Miklanian cruisers, hitting none but losing eight of their aircraft. Plaistow
had fired the first Miklanian shots of the war. Plaistow
continued to sail with First Fleet in the south western theatre for the remainder of 1941. Rye
escorted the Svalbardian carrier Stalharx
as part of her Second Fleet duties.
would serve through the rest of the war, being modified several times, and ultimately surviving both of her sisters. But these are drawings and stories for another time.
was decommissioned and stricken from the naval record in 1951, and sold to the Garrett Shipbreaking Yard in Hampton. Her bell and starboard anchor are on display at a memorial in downtown Plaistow.
Displacement, Standard (As Built, 1938): 10,420 long tons
Displacement, Standard (Armistace, 1948): 10,940 long tons
Beam: 59' 6"
Draft: 21' 7"
4x Isotoni boilers
Speed: 32 knots
Range: 10,000 nmi at 15 knots
Complement: 929 Officers and Men
Conning Tower: 6"
Armament (As Built):
9x 8"/55 guns in Mk.10 3-Gun turrets
6x 5"/40 Mk.31 in single mounts
12x 40mm Bofors anti-aircraft guns in 6x twin mounts
10x Coldstream Armory Mk.1 .50" water cooled anti-aircraft guns